2016 | 42 | 379-401
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Between tradition and modernity – the role of chiefs in the national development and local governance in Ghana

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Ghana is regarded as a leader of democracy and stability in Sub‑Saharan Africa. Owing to two decades of rapid economic growth and relatively peaceful transitions of power after elections, it is also one of the fastest developing and safest countries in the region. However, some challenges for internal stability and development are still to be addressed, for instance: the quality of leadership, poverty, environmental problems or inadequate and ineffective regulations. While solving these problems Ghanaian politicians and citizens have to either choose between or bring together both tradition and modernity. One of the aspects to analyse is traditional form of governance, in particular the role of traditional leaders, such as chiefs and queen mothers, in development, as well as their relationships and coexistence with the local and state government institutions. Therefore, this article focuses on understanding how traditional ways of thinking and acting, especially in the case of traditional leaders, influence Ghana’s strive for national development. The main questions are: whether they can be used as resources or rather constitute impediments? and how are they changing to address contemporary challenges?
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